GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In mid-December, Spectrum Health Dr. Marc McClelland became the first person in Michigan to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
On the first Monday of 2021, he was among the first to get the all-important second dose of Pfizer’s vaccine. It will take about a month before the immunization is fully effective.
“Certainly I’m going to continue to wear mask and practice social distancing and all the recommended measures, at least for the foreseeable future till more and more people are vaccinated,” McClelland said, “because it’s not totally clear if people like myself will still be able to carry the virus and be able to spread it to others.”
“I know there’s been a lot of excitement among my patients. I can’t go an hour without somebody asking about it,” McClelland said. “It’s really exciting stuff and I’m glad the vaccine is out and we’re rolling it out to as many people as possible.”
That rollout poses a huge logistical challenge, so a Michigan National Guard medical detachment out of Detroit has stepped in to help.
Since the vaccine was approved last month, 30,000 doses have been made available to Spectrum Health. As of the last week of December, it had administered about 4,000 doses. As of Monday, the number was up to over 11,000, with another 4,000 employees scheduled for their first round the same week.
Spectrum Health officials told News 8 in late December that they planned to space out inoculations to 25% of workers in units like the emergency room or intensive care at a time. Like other vaccines, this one can cause a mild reaction among some. The staggered approach helps ensure adequate staffing levels in case those reactions prevent people from working.
For Clelland, who as a pulmonologist has seen what COVID-19 does to those who develop serious cases, the second dose represent more than personal protection.
“Having spent the last several months taking care of people with COVID and doing our best as a team to fight this illness, it’s a very personal, almost emotional feeling to now have the vaccine,” he said.